When I imagined what it would be
like to be offered a book deal, it involved leaping up and down and the sound
of champagne corks popping.
I actually celebrated it in
It all started well. My agent Broo
Doherty had been trying to find a publisher for ‘Who’s Afraid of Mr Wolfe?’ for
just under a year, so when she rang to say, ‘Charlotte at Quercus really loves
the story and she’d like to offer you a contract for two books’, I don’t think
the reality hit me until I’d finished the call. Then there was leaping up and down and some not altogether attractive air
We arranged to go out and
Fast forward half an hour and
younger daughter sidles into the kitchen to report that her elbow feels a bit
funny. She’d fallen on it at school, but didn’t want to mention it earlier. It was
obvious that she needed someone who wasn’t unhinged by the thought of a
publishing deal to have a proper look at it, so I gave her some painkillers and
we all set off for A&E.
We sat among the walking wounded
and waited. Then waited some more.
Which was when hysteria set in at
the way the evening was turning out. We played bizarre I-spy (Curtains? No.
Chocolate machine? No. Cracked Collarbone for the guy who’d just gone in to
X-ray? Yesss). We tried to find the worst celebrity tan in the magazines lying
about and the tackiest wedding photographs.
It felt silly and conspiratorial
and it created a warmer family glow than sitting in a restaurant with me smugly
repeating, ‘I’ve got a two-book deal.’
When an X-ray finally revealed
that the elbow was just bruised, we got a takeaway and ate it back in the
kitchen at home. And yes, I did get pleasantly sloshed.
I suppose the lesson I took away –
besides ‘don’t arse about and fall on your elbow’ – is that there’s often a gap
between how you imagine things will be and how they are. This might, when I
shuffle off to Writer Heaven, also sum up my writing career – who knows? All I
can say is that right now, I’m enjoying every wonderful and bizarre thing which
winning that contract, and the one that came after it, has brought my way.
Grace, Hazel’s third novel, was published in August and picked as one of
Woman & Home’s Top 15 Summer reads.